Women’s soccer (6–0–1, 5–0–1 in the NESCAC) continued its unbeaten start to the season, playing two home games last weekend on Cole Field. The women edged archrival Amherst 3-2 in a tight contest on Saturday and battled Bates to a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
In the first half against Bates, both teams played with urgency that led to a host of chances. In the 25th minute, Georgia Lord ’21 had a shot from the edge of the box, but it was cleared near the post by Bates defender MacKenzie Kelly. The Bobcats then went on the attack, and a corner kick led to a header for Cassidy McCarns that went wide.
A dangerous sequence for Bates in the 29th minute nearly led to a breakthrough. A cross connected with Hannah Behringer in the penalty area, and Behringer ricocheted a shot off the right post. The ball was sent back in, and Behringer had another shot, saved brilliantly by Olivia Barnhill ’19.
In the 37th minute, Ilana Albert ’21 lofted an inviting ball for Erika Jung ’20 in the box, but Bates goalkeeper Sarah McCarthy punched the ball out.
The visitors went up 1-0 in the 40th minute. Bates forward Caroline Bogue laid the ball off for Olivia Amdur, who took a touch around a defender and hit a wonder strike from 25 yards out. The powerful shot sailed in just beneath the crossbar. The score at halftime was 1-0 Bobcats, and the Ephs went into the break behind for the first time this season. Williams held a 7-6 advantage in shots and a 6-2 edge in corners in the first 45 minutes.
In the 53rd minute, the Ephs equalized. Natasha Albaneze ’18 traded passes with Sarah Scire ’20 from a corner kick, and Albaneze sent a ball in that found its way to Victoria Laino ’21 in the box. Laino knocked the ball into the net, scoring for the second straight day.
Williams created more opportunities in the latter part of the half, but the Bates back line and goalkeeper Sarah McCarthy stood strong. McCarthy saved a shot from Scire in the 84th minute and one from Alison Lu ’20 in the 88th minute to send the game to extra time.
The Ephs continued to threaten in the extra period. In the 91st minute, Natalie Turner-Wyatt ’19 won the ball on the left side and fed Kelly, who dodged defenders to get a shot on net. Lord forced another save from McCarthy shortly thereafter, when she headed a free kick toward goal.
One of the best chances for a decider came in the 99th minute, when a Bobcat handball set up a free kick from just outside the box. Lu slid onto a delivery from Albaneze, but McCarthy was there to make the save.
The Ephs kept the pace quick in the second overtime period, and Lauren Brown ’19 had a shot go just wide into the side netting. Bates forward So Kim sent a shot on goal in the 106th minute, but Barnhill dealt with the threat.
After extra time, the game finished at a 1-1 tie. Williams commanded a 24-8 advantage in shots and an 11-2 edge in corners. The Ephs enjoyed most of the possession after the first half, but the Bobcats kept the ball out of the net. McCarthy made six saves, while Barnhill had three.
“We didn’t finish today,” head coach Michelyne Pinard said. “That was the key. If we finish, it’s a different game. That’s soccer, though, and we’ll keep working. We need to take shots when we get them. We can’t always wait for the perfect final ball.”
Pinard said she liked her team’s response to the first-half deficit but wishes the players could start the game at that level.
“Our tempo was faster after they scored,” she said. “I’m hoping we can start with that tempo and do that for 90 minutes or 110 minutes. That would give us a better chance to win.”
On Saturday, the women beat archrival Amherst 3-2. The game was closely contested from the kickoff, and the first half saw a rapid pace of play. The home side opened the scoring in the fourth minute. On the counterattack, Laino picked out Scire on the left wing. Scire played a pass through to Albaneze in the penalty area, and Albaneze beat Amherst goalkeeper Chelsea Cutler to the ball. Albaneze, the reigning NESCAC Player of the Week, tapped in for her third goal in as many games.
Amherst, last year’s NESCAC champion, equalized in the 15th minute. A long ball forced Barnhill to come off her line and clear. The ball fell to Amherst forward Hayley Roy, who passed to Rubii Tamen at the edge of the box, and Tamen’s shot found its way into the net.
Laino broke the tie in the 25th minute, scoring her first collegiate goal. A beautiful ball from Scire found Laino in the box, and the first-year volleyed in a left-footed shot to make it 2-1 Ephs.
Tri-captain Evan Gancedo ’18 had a chance in the 40th minute. Madison Feeney ’19 played a long ball to Gancedo in the box, but Cutler made a big save for Amherst.
Kristina Alvarado ’19 brought the lead to 3-1 just before halftime. In the 41st minute, a free kick from Mikayla Kappes ’21 bounced off a defender to Alvarado, who converted from just outside the six-yard box.
Barnhill and Cutler each finished the first half with a save, and the Ephs had a 7-5 advantage in shots at the break.
Chances were fewer in the second half, with the pace of play diminished. The visitors had the bulk of the possession in the final 45 minutes as the Ephs looked to maintain their lead.
The Ephs had a chance for an insurance goal in the 65th minute. Alvarado hit Ilana Albert ’21 on a run into the box. Cutler, however, stepped up to make a key one-on-one save.
The Mammoths cut the deficit to one in the 81st minute. Delancey King sent in a corner, and Claire Nam headed a shot on goal. Barnhill made the save on Nam, but Guzzi was there to capitalize on the rebound, scoring her conference-leading fifth goal.
Down 3-2 in the final 10 minutes, the Mammoths sent players forward, ramping up the pressure. Amherst’s best chance at an equalizer came in the 84th minute when Guzzi sent a shot into the side netting.
The final whistle blew with the Eph lead intact. The Mammoths finished with a 16-11 advantage in shots and a 6-3 edge in corners. Barnhill made five saves, and Cutler had two for Amherst.
“3-2 is a very typical Amherst-Williams score,” Pinard said. “It’s always a high-flying game, and that’s what it was today.”
“I’m very pleased with our conversion rate this year and certainly today,” she said. “That helped us sneak this one out. Possession-wise, we could have done a better job. They put a lot of pressure on, so it felt like we didn’t have time and space.”
The women will return to Cole Field on Saturday to host Connecticut College at noon.